LaPorte County Counsel Has it Wrong While Lake Porter Understands the Railroad Rules on Eminent Domain

In the recent Chicago Tribune article, LaPorte County counsel thought it would prepare a statute which would stop the eminent domain proceeding for the ridiculed Great Lakes Basin Transportation proposal, the fact is that the County is simply wrong.

When the Surface Transportation Board approves the project, the federal decision that the eminent domain proceeding may be initiated takes precedence over any limitation presented by a state or local jurisdiction.

The right word is “stop the project at the Surface Transportation Board or you will not be able to stop the railroad at all.”

“How much power county ordinances, when in place, have in light of state statutes that grant railroads the ability to acquire land through eminent domain is up for debate.

Attorneys for Lake and Porter counties said state statutes would allow for the land acquisition, but the attorney for LaPorte County said his county’s ordinance, one of the strongest in the state, would shield that county’s landowners.”

“If the railroad were to receive approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board, it would have the ability to begin acquiring land for the project through eminent domain.

The the railroad would be privately held, it would become a quasi-public/private partnership once it received STB approval, said Scott McClure, the Porter County attorney.”

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